Iowa Field Reports: Break in Weather Allows Good Planting Progress

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Farmers finally caught a break last week and were able to make a lot of planting progress across most of the state. Some areas that did not miss the rains last week had more limited progress made with getting the crop in the ground.

    The earlier planted crops and even some of the crops put in early last week have started to emerge—now is a great time to get out and do some stand assessments! Read on to hear what ISU Extension field agronomists are hearing and seeing across the state.

    Northwest Iowa

    Gentry Sorenson (Region 2): “With warm temperatures and favorable weather conditions over the past week, significant planting progress was made through much of the area. Corn is nearing completion in areas that have missed rainfall, with many growers working on planting and making pre-herbicide applications to soybeans.

    “Sprayers were frequently observed in soybean fields as herbicide and nitrogen application neared completion in corn fields. Precipitation was received across the northern part of my region in Emmet, Dickinson, and northern Kossuth counties slowing planting in those areas. I observed emergence in a handful of corn fields on May 16.

    “Alfalfa was measured in one field around 12 inches tall.  Recent calls consisted of questions on pre-emerge chemicals and cover crop termination.”

    North Central Iowa

    Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “Farmers across NC Iowa made significant planting progress this past week. The USDA NASS Crop Progress and Condition Report dated May 16 indicates 68% of the corn and 34% of the soybeans are planted in the NC Crop reporting district.

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    “I would also add that Hamilton and Webster counties which are in the central crop reporting district closely match those numbers, but Hardin County probably more closely aligns with the central Iowa crop reporting district with 44% of the corn and 23% of the beans planted.

    “Each week I scout an alfalfa field in southern Hamilton County.  Alfalfa height was 5 inches on May 2, 10 inches on May 10 and 20 inches on May 16.  The May 16 reading, using Predictive Equations for Alfalfa Quality or PEAQ gives a Relative Feed Value of 186 to 196. For more information on using PEAQ to determine when to cut alfalfa see the fact sheet “Estimate First Crop Pre-Harvest Alfalfa Quality in the Field Using PEAQ”.

    “Last week in this same field I found a few alfalfa weevil adults and today while scouting I found alfalfa weevil larvae and scattered evidence of leaf feeding. My larval counts were not at any threshold to consider treatment but given the severity of alfalfa weevil last year it is a good reminder to continue to scout for this insect. Use the table in the link to alfalfa weevil to determine economic thresholds.

    “Finally, like many of you, I have spotted a few fields of emerged corn and even one soybean field on my field call trips.”

    Northeast Iowa

    Josh Michel (Region 5): “Significant planting progress was made throughout most of the region due to warming temperatures. That being said, there’s also some isolated areas where farmers have yet to get out into the field due to persistent rainfall. Over the past week, most of region has received 0.10 to 0.50 inch of precipitation.

    “However, in some isolated areas mainly in Allamakee, Clayton and Fayette counties, they’ve received up to 2.5 inches of precipitation. An estimated 40% of the corn and 30% of the soybeans have been planted. Approximately 90% of the oats have been planted, with 55% emerged.

    “Alfalfa fields and pastures have started growing due to adequate rainfall and warm temperatures. Alfalfa weevil larvae have started showing up in many fields. Recent field calls and questions have consisted mainly of cover crop termination, weed management, corn rootworm management, and small grains management.”

    Central Iowa

    Meaghan Anderson (Region 7): “The rain finally let up in most of central Iowa last week and farmers took advantage to get a lot of crop planted in a short time. While it feels like it has been a really wet spring, parts of central Iowa are just 100-150% of normal and other parts are 75-100% of normal over the last 60 days.

    “The weather forecast looks like farmers may be dodging some rain this week in this part of the state. I’ve seen a handful of emerged corn and soybean fields that were planted on various dates in April. Checking these stands for potential issues related to the cool, wet conditions will be important as the crops emerge.

    “Most phone calls over the last week have been related to weed identification, weed management, and cover crop termination.”

    Southwest Iowa:

    Aaron Saeugling (Region 10): “Spotty rainfall has hampered planting in some areas in SW Iowa including Adams, Adair Union, Taylor, Ringgold counties. Corn planting, despite the variable weather has made good progress along with soybean planting. Unfavorable weather conditions have made spraying a challenge.

    “Early planted corn and soybean are now emerging. Variable stands have been noticed where prolonged cool and wet soil conditions prevailed. Forages are finally growing more like a normal spring patten, just delayed by a few weeks. I expect insect activity to be prevalent in the weeks to come.  Be on the lookout for alfalfa weevil and black cutworm.”

    East Central, Southeast, and South Central Iowa:

    Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “The weather finally cooperated, and conditions were fit for a lot of planting progress to be made over the last week for both corn and soybeans. Some of the crop that went in the ground early last week has already emerged. As fields emerge, do take time to evaluate your stands.

    “Do be on the lookout for black cutworms, especially later in the week into next week based on the predicted cutting dates. Besides a later start to planting, one of the other challenges has been getting fields sprayed especially with some of the windier weather. Pay attention to your herbicide labels for how soon after planting herbicide products need to be applied.

    “Forages also really took off with the heat. Do take some time to check for alfalfa weevil larvae. I started noticing them in alfalfa fields last week. The main questions I’ve had over the last week included cover crop termination, weed ID, herbicide considerations, and insect pests (i.e. cutworm and alfalfa weevil larvae).”

    Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “Rainfall last week in the counties I cover was 0.1 inch or less. In general, temperatures last week in the counties I cover were 12 to 18 degrees above normal. Planting progress was excellent last week. I estimate that about 80% of the corn and 40% of the soybeans are planted as of Monday morning. Most early planted corn looks excellent, but a few corn fields have population issues.

    “Bluegrass is heading out, orchard grass is starting to head out, and wheat in southern Iowa is starting to head out. I saw my first lightning bug flash on Saturday. Calls last week mostly involved weed management on how long to wait to plant corn after anhydrous ammonia application.”

    Clarabell Probasco (Region 11): “South Central Iowa was able to find a great window for getting work done in the field. Many corn and soybean acres were able to be planted in the break of rain across the area. Growing conditions that have followed planting have been very conducive to a quick germination and emergence.

    “It is not uncommon to be able to row a few crop fields here and there, and we will quickly be seeing many more over the next few days. The recent surge of heat has also helped pasture and forage growth tremendously. Much of the area found themselves experiencing some quick light showers this past week.

    “Many of these systems combined, only brought a few tenths to the area. However, they were well received for the corn and soybeans that were already planted. Most field calls have been over weed identification in both pasture and crop settings as well as herbicide applications in regards to planting.”




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